A whole day without ‘proper’ food to chew? As someone who enjoys eating (and writing/broadcasting about food and restaurants), this prospect was somewhat daunting. But, like many of us, I was aware that fasting from time to time can be advantageous.
For centuries – as far back as Ancient Greek times – people have been fasting for health, religious, or political reasons. In the 21st century, it’s become a dietary trend – with mounting scientific evidence of the health benefits.
Violetta Painter, founder of Nourish The Guide, included fasting in her personal protocol when undergoing treatment for breast cancer in 2012. To this day, she still fasts every Monday, ingesting only freshly squeezed juices, smoothies, shots, and home-made broth.
Wikipedia defines fasting as ‘the willing abstinence or reduction from some or all food, drink, or both, for a period of time’; hardly instructive, if you want to try juice fasting at home. I’d recommend attending a retreat where you can fast under supervision, knowing you’ll get enough nutrients into your body. Other benefits of a retreat include someone else doing the shopping for the right combination of fresh ingredients, and all the work of juicing (and cleaning the equipment afterwards).
The Nourish Me Summer Juice Cleanse Weekend Retreat in September included a one-day juice fast – and was the ideal introduction to this practice. It took place in a beautiful property in Santa Maria, with a pretty garden, large swimming pool, and plenty of space for relaxation. I was one of seven women who wouldn’t be using a knife and fork that Saturday!
Our nurturing hosts Violetta Painter and Pippa Davidson brought us an early-morning green juice (to sip through a paper straw) to start Saturday’s fast. At 8am, we were all on poolside mats for a yoga session with Sandra Wijkman Donovan of Earth Yoga. I haven’t done any yoga for years, but Sandra’s soothing voice and patience guided us all through the session. Afterwards I felt invigorated and ready to embrace what was to be a thoroughly pampering experience.
When our hosts weren’t bringing us glasses of mint-and-lemon-flavoured water, a delicious juice, shot, or smoothie, they were in the large contemporary kitchen, preparing everything. Frutas Ramon (Santa Catalina market in Palma) had delivered boxes of fresh produce that morning. I spotted the best spinach leaves I’d ever seen and will be visiting their stall when I next shop for produce in Palma.
As well as the regular doses of liquid nourishment, we could have optional treatments (at extra cost) from a few island-based therapists in attendance. Masseuse Lizzy Hearmon gave me a neck-and-shoulder massage, unravelling the knots and tension resulting from hours spent at a computer.
Having super-ticklish feet, I had never tried reflexology. But after reminding myself that this was a day to focus on self-care, I submitted my feet to Amanda Noel Woolsten’s ministrations. Using expert manipulation, Amanda worked on the nerve endings in my feet, paying extra attention to those linked to my digestion and lungs (my weaker areas). My first reflexology session was a revelation: it didn’t tickle at all.
Aromatherapist Natasha Ravanello joined us late afternoon to talk about essential oils. Distracting us from thoughts of solid food, Natasha sat cross-legged on the sitting room floor – her bottles of essential oils, leaflets, and books on the subject, spread in front of her. Her fascinating scent-laden presentation has inspired me to introduce essential oils into my personal and home-care routines.
Delicious aromas wafted from the kitchen: potassium broth simmered on the hob. But a surprise treat awaited us first: a sound bath. Lying on mats on the floor, we closed our eyes as the healing sounds of gongs, drums, and ringing bowls washed over us. Bliss. I apparently drifted off to sleep, because my friend on the next mat told me afterwards that I had snored softly.
Our welcome evening broth was comforting, satisfying, and surprisingly flavourful – the ideal preparation for a nourishing early night and deep relaxing sleep.
At the end of the retreat, we took away all the recipes for the liquid nourishment we had during the one-day fast, along with information to help us introduce regular fasting and other self-care practices into our lives. My first one-day juice fast will not be my last…
Written by Jan Edwards
About the author
Jan is an English freelance writer, blogger, and radio broadcaster, who moved from Oxfordshire to Mallorca in 2004. She and her husband – aka The Boss – have since lived in rural tranquillity in a solar-electricity-powered finca near Manacor. They share their property with six ‘adopted’ cats.
A former BBC local radio presenter and journalist, Jan hosts gastronomy and hospitality show ‘Table Talk’ on Saturday mornings from 10 on English-language station Mallorca Sunshine Radio.
Jan has had numerous Mallorca-related articles published in print and online and is delighted to be a Nourish The Guide contributor. She also blogs about her country life on www.livinginruralmallorca.com and about food, drink, and places to stay, on www.eatdrinksleepmallorca.com. She has had several short stories published and is currently writing a novel.